Reviewing a Motörhead album is like reviewing a cheeseburger—unless something truly awful has happened, it will at the very worst be pretty damn good. What makes Motörhead so powerful is that they’ve never deviated too far from the formula of kickass rock and roll with whiskey-soaked swagger and massive sack. Such is Aftershock, an album that many were worried wouldn’t happen due to Lemmy’s recent bouts with ill health. But there’s nothing to worry about: Aftershock is another worthy entry into Motörhead’s long discography, with 14 rollicking tracks of brawn, broads, and blazing riffs.
To the band’s credit, there are noticeable differences between Aftershock and 2010’s The World Is Yours. The misanthropic and outwardly venomous tone present on the latter album is gone, replaced by laid-back country-fried songs that feature Lemmy’s plaintive groan more than his throaty bellow. “Lost Woman Blues” and “Dust And Glass” are both traditional country and blues songs, with only the faintest hint of metal in their respective guitar sounds. Some tracks, such as “Crying Shame,” also reintroduce the band’s bar-room piano, harkening back to classics like “Angel City” off of 1914. But then there are songs like “Coup de Grace,” “Death Machine,” “Going to Mexico,” and “Queen of the Damned,” which bring all the stomp and snarl that one wants from a Motörhead record. Predictable? Maybe, but it’s still impossible to keep your feet from tapping and head from banging throughout. This is a band that has progressed without getting “progressive,” and it’s why they remain awesome.
In a genre choked with over-technical playing, subgenre worship, and retro posturing, it feels refreshing to have a solid Motörhead record come out and remind us how it’s done. Big juicy burger? Sounds fucking great.
Check out "Heartbreaker" off Aftershock below: